At the age of three, Sharon Maxwell-Yamamoto announced that she was going to be an opera singer. It was a promise that she kept; and furthered. In addition to being a professional opera singer, she created an opera company to share her passion for opera with a wider audience.

The San Jose-based Opera Bravura, whose second production, Passion, Enchantment and Love, Oh My! is on Saturday, November 12 at the First Unitarian Church, was born of Maxwell-Yamamoto’s vision to present music from a variety of operas, operettas, musical theatre and the golden age of Hollywood in an operatic style and setting.

Now rounding the bend on its one-year anniversary, Opera Bravura is proceeding full-speed ahead in its mission to present opera in fun and unexpected ways. Its upcoming production picks where May’s concert, Love, Lust, Revenge and Death, left off; though on a slightly cheerier note.

“There’s a lot of passion in this one,” says Maxwell-Yamamoto, Opera Bravura’s Executive Director. “There’s not a lot of sadness. There’s a little,” she adds with a laugh, “but it’s not the the predominant theme. There are some familiar songs and some that may not ring a bell for everyone, but they are worth hearing.”

The feedback that Maxwell-Yamamoto received about Opera Bravura’s inaugural concert was that it was a little too short, so this time she has extended the length and included songs from 15 different operas. The orchestra has also grown, now boasting eight pieces and a conductor. Showcasing the talents of local artists Maxwell-Yamamoto, Diane Squires and Jo Vincent Parks, the cast of Passion, Enchantment and Love, Oh My! also includes New Yorkers Lazaro Calderon and Katja Heuzeroth and includes songs from Carmen, Pagliacci, Tales of Hoffman, Madama Butterfly, The Pearlfishers, Lakme, Sadko, Turando, a set from Aida and more.

In true, operatic fashion, the Opera Bravura singers will be decked out it detailed, lavish and beautiful costumes. This production includes pieces that Maxwell-Yamamoto had custom-made or rented from internationally-renowned opera companies.

“We have some amazing costumes,” she says. “When I’m singing about the enchantment of India, I’m dressed as an Indian bride in the whole regalia, in a costume custom-made in India. The dress alone weighs 16 pounds,” she says, “and that’s without the tons of jewelry.”

For Maxwell-Yamamoto, Opera Bravura provides a wonderful way to do what she loves and to share with audiences some of the highlights of opera’s rich tradition and the beauty of the operatic style.

“The operatic voice is such an amazing way to sing,” she says. “It takes so much effort and skill and years of training. There are pop singers and belters on Broadway,” she continues, “but the operatic voice is so glorious it can bring you to tears.”

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